- Senior citizens in St. Thomas who have been excelling in their clubs will be honoured for their work in the areas of needle craft, handicraft, culinary art, business and community work.
- The awards ceremony, which will take place at the Anglican Church Hall, Morant Bay, on Thursday, October 2, is part of activities to celebrate this year’s Senior Citizens’ Week (September 28 to October 4), under the theme: ‘Active Ageing through a Healthy Lifestyle’.
- Parish Organiser for the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC), Joanna Facey, tells JIS News that 99 seniors will be recognised at the ceremony for their work and contribution to the development of their clubs and the parish. She notes that these persons were selected following an assessment in July this year.
Senior citizens in St. Thomas who have been excelling in their clubs will be honoured for their work in the areas of needle craft, handicraft, culinary art, business and community work.
The awards ceremony, which will take place at the Anglican Church Hall, Morant Bay, on Thursday, October 2, is part of activities to celebrate this year’s Senior Citizens’ Week (September 28 to October 4), under the theme: ‘Active Ageing through a Healthy Lifestyle’.
Parish Organiser for the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC), Joanna Facey, tells JIS News that 99 seniors will be recognised at the ceremony for their work and contribution to the development of their clubs and the parish. She notes that these persons were selected following an assessment in July this year.
“Each year seniors are usually graded for their work and participation in activities held in the parish. Each year they meet at the Anglican Church Hall in Morant Bay and we have persons coming to assess their work and from that assessment they are graded,” she explains, adding that certificates will be presented to persons who received “excellent” and “good” grades during the evaluation.
Ms. Facey notes that several activities have been organised for senior citizens, who are encouraged to keep active in order to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Among the activities are educational tours, tea parties, culinary art, needlecraft, tree planting at the Morant Bay Courthouse and an exercise session at the Rudolph Elder Park in Morant Bay. Seminars and workshops on important issues have also been arranged to educate and motivate the seniors.
In addition, a six-week course in computer studies is offered to seniors twice per year by the NCSC, in collaboration with the Morant Bay Parish Library in St. Thomas.
The parish has 26 senior citizens’ clubs, but according to the Parish Organiser, some clubs are inactive. She notes that they have been dormant due to the difficulty by members to find suitable venues for their meetings. Club members meet once or twice per month at different locations to engage in various activities.
Ms. Facey says meetings are usually held at church halls and schools, but adds that it is not always possible to do so. She notes that there are plans to re-activate the senior citizens’ club at the Morant Bay Infirmary, and that a meeting will be held shortly with officials of the Infirmary to discuss the way forward.
“That was a very vibrant club and there are persons there who we think can learn and do something to create income generating projects,” she adds.
The parish organiser also expresses the need for a building in the parish to host skills training programmes, and educational and social activities for the seniors. She adds that the building could be used for inter-generational events and for the display of craft items produced by the seniors.
“We have crocheted slippers, we do jams, we do wines, we do jellies, and we do various needle craft and embroidery. We have also done art and craft and these things can be sold, but the venue is not there,” she notes.
“If we can get a club centre, where we can really meet and do all of our activities, then more seniors would get involved,” she says, adding that some clubs are engaged in income generating projects. “They do baking and sell back in order to gain money for their clubs,” she notes.
Despite the challenges, Ms. Facey says some clubs are still performing well, and cites the successful business venture of the Rising Star Senior Citizens’ Club in Trinityville.
She tells JIS News that seniors are now earning a livelihood from the skills gained from a wicker basket making workshop organised by the NCSC.
“They have been making money from it now. They do their wicker baskets and have been selling it to a store which prepares gift baskets. So, people want to learn and they want to learn new skills,” the parish organiser says.
Ms. Facey also has high praise for the work being done by the Wilmington Senior Citizens’ Club. She informs that club members have been cooking and serving meals to about 26 shut-ins in Wilmington and other communities. Meals are served on the last Thursday of each month.
She commends Stephanie Taylor, a member of the Dorcas Senior Citizens’ Club, who placed second in the recently held National Senior Citizens’ Spelling Bee competition. The club also represented the parish at last year’s competition.
Another club which has been excelling is the Senior Citizens’ Club of the Morant Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ms. Facey says the club, headed by retired NCSC parish organiser for St. Thomas, Verona O’Connor, has been doing well over the years. “It is a very vibrant club and they are always participating in events,” she notes.
Mrs. O’Connor tells JIS News that members participate in handicraft, needlecraft and other activities, including floral arrangement and juice making. They also crochet hats, bags, cosmetic holders and phone holders, and visit shut-ins and the sick.
Members of the club meet every second Wednesday of the month at the Morant Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church.